Research / BFI Working PaperJun 25, 2021

The Impact of Free Secondary Education: Experimental Evidence from Ghana

Esther Duflo, Pascaline Dupas, Michael Kremer

Following the widespread adoption of free primary education, African policymakers are now considering making secondary school free, but little is known about the private and social benefits of free secondary education. We exploit randomized assignment to secondary school scholarships among 2,064 youths in Ghana, combined with 12 years of data, to establish that scholarships increase educational attainment, knowledge, skills, and preventative health behaviors, while reducing female fertility. Eleven years after receipt of the scholarship, only female winners show private labor market gains, but those come primarily in the form of better access to jobs with rents (in particular rationed jobs in the public sector). We develop a simple model to interpret the labor market results and help think through the welfare impact of free secondary education.

More Research From These Scholars

BFI Working Paper, Development Innovation Lab Jan 30, 2024

Digital Information Provision and Behavior Change: Lessons from Six Experiments in East Africa

Raissa Fabregas, Michael Kremer, Matthew Lowes, Robert On, Giulia Zane
Topics:  Development Economics, Technology & Innovation
BFI Working Paper Jun 10, 2021

Could Vaccine Dose Stretching Reduce COVID-19 Deaths?

Witold Więcek, Amrita Ahuja, Michael Kremer, Alexandre Simoes Gomes, Christopher M. Snyder, Alex Tabarrok, Brandon Joel Tan
Topics:  COVID-19, Health care
BFI Working Paper, Development Innovation Lab Sep 8, 2022

Blue Spoons: Sparking Communication About Appropriate Technology Use

Arun G. Chandrasekhar, Esther Duflo, Michael Kremer, João F. Pugliese, Jonathan Robinson, Frank Schilbach
Topics:  Development Economics